"Four score and seven years ago our fathers
brought forth on this continent, a new nation,
conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the
proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war,
testing whether that nation, or any nation so
conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.
We are met on a great battle-field of that war.
We have come to dedicate a portion of that
field, as a final resting place for those who here
gave their lives that that nation might live. It is
altogether fitting and proper that we should do
But, in a larger sense, we can not
dedicate— we can not consecrate— we can not
hallow— this ground. The brave men, living and
dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it,
far above our poor power to add or detract.
The world will little note, nor long remember
what we say here, but it can never forget what
they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to
be dedicated here to the unfinished work which
they who fought here have thus far so nobly
advanced. It is rather for us to be here
dedicated to the great task remaining before
us— that from these honored dead we take
increased devotion to that cause for which they
gave the last full measure of devotion— that we
here highly resolve that these dead shall not
have died in vain— that this nation, under God,
shall have a new birth of freedom— and that
government of the people, by the people, for
the people, shall not perish from the earth."
Five versions of Abraham Lincoln's
immortal Gettysburg Address, in the President's
own handwriting, are known to exist.
The First and Second Drafts of 29 lines and
33 lines respectively are the property of the
Library of Congress. The Third Draft, or
Edward Everett copy, of 31 lines is the
property of the Illinois State Historical Library.
The Fourth Draft, or George Bancroft copy, of
31 lines has been acquired by Cornell
University. The Fifth Draft which represents
Lincoln's final judgment as to the contents of
the address is sometimes designated as "the
standard version." This has recently been
presented to the people of the United States by
a private collector with the request that it be
exhibited in the White House.
Some authorities are of the opinion that
there is a missing sixth draft of the Gettysburg
Address, supposedly sent by Lincoln to Judge
David Wills, who was in charge of the
Gettysburg cemetery dedication.
Those students who have evaluated the
impact of the Gettysburg Address on world
thought are of the opinion that the speech is of
greater significance than the battle which was
fought on July 1, 2, 3, 1863. Charles Sumner
said, "The speech will live when the memory of
the battle will be lost or only remembered
because of the speech." Truly, rhetoric outlives
the facts that inspire it.
Today, on the battlefield at Gettysburg,
there are some two thousand monuments,
tablets and markers that commemorate what
has been called the "greatest contest of arms on
American soil." But on this battlefield you will
find one unique and imposing memorial, the
only monument in the world erected to a
speech. It commemorates the "few appropriate
remarks" made by Lincoln on November 19,
1863, when his ten-sentence address was
delivered— an address unequaled in beauty,
clarity, simplicity and power.
ON THE COVER: This photograph was taken
November 8, 1863, just eleven days before Lincoln
delivered his Gettysburg Address.
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Form 8906 12/82